Web economy is based on a fundamental monetary unit: the visits
attempted by cybernauts to various web pages. An increasing activity of visits
to a site
leads to an increasingly underscoring of its importance that results to a boost
in advertising prices and so on. Furthermore, many web pages do not even need
a lot of advertising to become known. They bear their own history that has
existed longer than cyberspace itself. Take the address ww.nytimes.com for
example; an address, which belongs to the “New York Times” newspaper
and is one of the Internet’s most frequently visited sites. The reliability
of the newspaper is translated into an invaluable source of information on
the Net. Yet, was someone to keystroke www.nytimesl.com by mistake one would
be faced with quite a surprise. That specific address had been registered by
a character that had nothing to do with the newspaper and navigated computers
to the pornographic site www.clubanytime.com.
Rafael Fortuntry, an Internet entrerpreneur from Miami, USA, had come up with
a cheap means to increase his web page traffic: he would just make use of people’s
spelling mistakes. The “New York Times” was not his sole victim.
The distance between a lot of large and famous sites and his own, was limited
to just a dot. For instance, if the users who would like to visit the Pain
Webber Inc. Investment Company’s pages (www.painwebber.com) missed the
first dot (in other words punched wwwpainwebber.com) would find themselves
logged once again on Fortuntry’s pornographic site. The same would happen
to those who, instead of stroking www.citibank.com, would keystroke wwwcitibank.com
or to those who, while looking for books, would punch www.barnsandnoblel.com
instead of www.barnsandnoble.com, or to those who would enter www.ebbay.com
instead of www.ebay.com.
This phenomenon, known as “spelling piracy”, was greatly featured
in the Press some time ago, when the Pathfinder spacecraft had landed on Mars
and several schools in the USA attempted to visit the NASA pages (www.nasa.gov).
To their dismay and embarrassment, the teachers who had mistakenly punched
www.nasa.com found themselves in a pornographic site. Naturally, and after
the turmoil that broke out,www.nasa.com is no longer on, but the practice of “spelling
piracy” has already acquired the magnitude of an epidemic.